Suresh Gopi, the actor and Rajya Sabha Member who stirred up controversy after seeking an honorary salute from a sub-inspector on Wednesday, said on Thursday that salute culture needs to end.
Addressing the media in Pala, Kottayam on Thursday, Gopi said, “Salute culture needs to end. No need to salute anyone. But, there should not be any political discrimination [if there is a rule].”
Gopi visited Puthur in Thrissur district on Wednesday to distribute aid to families affected by a storm. According to a report in The New Indian Express, Gopi approached the sub-inspector, who was sitting inside the jeep, and asked him to take necessary action on a complaint from local residents about fallen trees that were blocking traffic. At that time, Gopi also reminded the SI that he is an MP and needs to be saluted. The SI immediately got down from the jeep and saluted him.
When a video clip of this incident went viral on social media, it stirred up controversy.
However, according to The New Indian Express report, Gopi said he did not force the police officer to salute. “I addressed him politely as ‘sir’ and reminded him that as an MP, I deserve a salute and the officer saluted me. I was informed by the Rajya Sabha secretariat that the police have to salute an MP,” he had said.
During his address to the media on Thursday, reporters pointed out that, according to the Kerala Police Association, there is no rule that a cop has to salute a MP. Gopi responded to this with: “Does the police officer (in question) have any complaints? The association does not belong to a democratic set up. If they believe they do, then let them come to the parliament and complain to the chairperson.”
He further said the rule about whom the police have to salute is issued by the DGP and added that states function based on the laws of the country and the Kerala Police should follow the protocols that are followed by the country at large.
He also added that the Kerala Police Association’s aim should be the welfare of its members and not playing politics.
According to the Kerala Police Standing Orders, sourced by Manorama News, honorary salute can be offered to the President and Vice President of India, ministers of state and centre, DGP, ADG, IGP, DIGP, SP of the police department, general officers in uniform, judges of the Supreme and High Courts, district magistrates, sessions judges, guard of the commandant unit, collectors of districts, officers in armed forces, civil officers of higher rank, and the remains of the dead. It is notable that there are no mentions of MPs or MLAs.